Golden Knights-Sharks Game 7 Betting Odds, Preview: Is Martin Jones Kidding Me?
Neville E. Guard, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Martin Jones
- Game 7 of the first-round series between the San Jose Sharks (-110) and Vegas Golden Knights is expected to be tight.
- Michael Leboff breaks down the odds, previews the matchup and wonders if Martin Jones can save San Jose again.
Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks Betting Odds, Preview
- Golden Knights odds: -105
- Sharks odds: -105
- Over/Under: 5.5
- Channel: NBCSN
- Time: 10 p.m. ET
This series should be over already.
The Vegas Golden Knights have been the better for most of this series and were dominant in Game 6, and yet, two Martin Jones Miracles and one double-overtime goal later, here we are for Game 7 in the Shark Tank. Hockey, ain’t it grand?
There is only one place you can start handicapping this game — the blue paint. More specifically, the blue paint in front of San Jose’s goal. Because that’s where Martin Jones works.
Martin Jones is the type of goaltender that makes you yearn for the fainting chair. After he’s done with you, you’ll need a stiff drink, a call from mom and an appointment with the best betting-psychiatrist money can buy.
By basically any metric, Jones was among the worst goalies in the circuit this season. But over the past two games he’s basically summoned the spirit of Dominik Hasek. This isn’t the first time Jones has pulled this stunt either. Last year, Jones morphed into a world-beater in a first-round sweep of Anaheim.
This time around looked like it was going to be different. In the first four games of this series, Jones allowed 13 goals on 80 shots and was pulled twice. Game 2 was particularly appalling for the 29-year-old as he surrendered three goals on the first seven shots he faced, basically gift-wrapping Vegas its first victory of the series.
All of that is in the past now, as Jones has once again turned into the best goalie in the universe. Jones has stopped 88 of the last 91 shots he’s faced and has been beaten just once at 5-on-5 in the last two contests. This is sorcery at its finest and the man wearing the pointy hat is Martin Jones.
We should spend some time talking about Jones’ counterpart, Marc-Andre Fleury. Even though “Flower” has been mediocre in this series, he’s been a reliable goaltender for years and no team would be upset if he was the man leading them out for Game 7. Corsica Hockey ranks Fleury, who has played in 142 playoff games, as the No. 10 goaltender in the NHL.
Even considering current form, if I had to pick one of these two goalies to play in a game that my life depended on, I’m taking Fleury every day — and twice on Sundays.
Heatmap courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.
As the chart above plainly shows, Vegas has been the stronger team at 5-on-5 by a considerable margin. The Knights have better shot metrics, scoring chance rates and they’ve created nearly four more expected goals (xG) through the first half-dozen games.
- Shot Share: Vegas 54.4%
- High-Danger Scoring Chance Share: Vegas 56.3%
- Expected Goals Share: Vegas 58.7%
Not only is Vegas driving play at 5-on-5, but the Knights are also generating better scoring opportunities than the Sharks. That is usually a recipe for success, but in a best-of-7 variance runs wild and weird things happen.